The Emotional Rewards Of Downsizing Blog Feature
Eric Stewart

By: Eric Stewart on June 9th, 2015

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The Emotional Rewards Of Downsizing

Selling | Retirement

Do you live in a home that is too large? Maybe there are entire portions of your home you no longer live in, but you heat them, clutter them, and ignore them. It may be time to downsize, or as we call it, rightsize your life. 

What is rightsizing? I define it as the process where you adjust your current home or relocate to a new home to fit your current needs and empower you to live your preferable future.

Consider the difference the proper size makes. When you buy a new pair of shoes, you want to find a pair with the perfect fit. You wouldn’t buy shoes that are too large or too small, they would hurt or cause calluses.

Similarly, you want to find the right fit that will restore you to a balanced, comfortable home. A living environment where you are not held back or burdened by your home and possessions, but rather where your home and possessions suit your needs now and will continue to do so in the future.

I have developed a Rightsizing Bill of Rights, which helps my clients mentally prepare for the rightsizing process. Some highlights are below:

  • You have the right to move your life forward and not feel overwhelmed
  • You have the right to a stress free life. One that is not completely consumed with maintenance, upkeep, and repair
  • You have the right to not have a basement if you don’t need one
  • You have the right to throw away old copies of National Geographic
  • You have the right to own your possessions and not have your possessions own you (including your house)

 It’s time to re-measure your life, see what is ill-fitting, and find the right size for a better future!

Evaluating Your Life

Traditionally, well-being has been divided into seven different areas of focus: Intellectual, Physical, Social, Vocational, Emotional, Spiritual, and Environmental. You can use these categories to evaluate where you are now, and where you would like to be in the future - how you want your life to be, regardless of any hindrances or social expectations. 

Take a few minutes to answer the following questions concerning the seven areas of well-being. A worksheet to help with this exercise is included in my Rightsizing Guide, which can be downloaded here. 

For each category, you want to rank your current satisfaction on a scale of 1-10, with 1 indicating “needs work” and 10 indicating you are “satisfied.” You also want to note your strengths and weaknesses and what would be your preferable future for each area of well-being.


Are you physically active in some way? Can you maintain your current home by yourself? Do you need regular medical attention?


Are you intellectually stimulated in your life? Do you have specific topics or skills you are trying to learn more about? What are your goals?


Do you have neighbors who can assist you? Are your friendships thriving, rather than just existing? Have you lived alone for more than one year?


Your vocation is your call. Are you passionate about your job or volunteer work? Is your purpose muddy or unclear? Are you fulfilling your call?


Anger, sorrow, and joy: Are these emotions balanced in your life? Are you depressed? Would changing your life help? How?


Would you describe your spiritual well-being as health, hungry, or without a heartbeat?


“Home is where the heart is.” If your heart isn’t in your home like it used to be, why do you live there? Is your house well suited to your needs?

Your Preferable Future

Now, pick the three most important of your preferable futures. Those three areas will be the driving force behind your rightsizing process. With the three areas in mind, you can develop your “throughline.” A throughline is a theme or idea that runs from the beginning to the end of a story. This concept can be applied to rightsizing and will be your overall motivation for your move. Your throughline might look like this:

“I am moving so I can have more time to write my memoirs (Intellectual), more easily access the gym and exercise daily (Physical), and be more socially involved in a strong community (Social)."

Throughout the rightsizing process, your throughline will be your reason to work through any challenges and obstacles, with the ultimate goal of improving your life and realizing your preferable future.

For more guidance on the rightsizing process, I encourage you to download and read through my Rightsizing Guide. It provides tips on preserving memories from your home, how to declutter and sort through your possessions, and prep your current home for sale.



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About Eric Stewart

Eric Stewart started his real estate career in 1987 and each year he and his group sell over 150 homes in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The Eric Stewart Group has completed more than 3,000 real estate transactions, placing Eric in the top 1% of Realtors® in the nation. With a comprehensive approach to marketing and a knack for negotiation, the Eric Stewart Group has built a reputation of trust and tireless persistence throughout the area.